The stories of 10 famous people who served in World War 1


World War I ended 100 years ago Sunday.

Beginning in July 1914, the Great War lasted more than four years and killed an estimated 8.5 million soldiers and 13 million civilians.

And of the more than 65 million troops that were mobilized during the war, a handful of them were very famous, especially during the time period.

Here are 10 famous people who served during the Great War.

1. Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway in an American Red Cross Ambulance in Italy in 1918. Wikimedia Commons

Born in 1899, Ernest Hemingway was a leading American journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist.

Turned away from the US military because of an eye defection, Hemingway joined the American Red Cross as an ambulance driver during the war.

In 1918, Hemingway was injured by mortar fire in Italy, and his experiences during the Great War led him to write “A Farewell to Arms.”

He received the 1954 Nobel Prize in Literature. Hemingway committed suicide in Ketchum, Idaho, in 1961.

2. Humphrey Bogart

Bogart in the movie ‘Casablanca.’ Wikimedia Commons

Born in 1899, Humprey Bogart was an American actor known for films such as “Casablanca” and “The Maltese Falcon.”

In 1918, Bogart joined the US Navy, and spent most of his time during the war transporting troops back and forth between the US and Europe on the USS Leviathan, according to

There is some debate about whether Bogart’s lip scar, which gave him a lisp, came during war-time.

Some said a German prisoner punched him, others that it was caused by shrapnel from a German shell that hit the Leviathan. Bogart himself said it happened when he was a kid, and that Hollywood played it up to make him appear tough.

Bogart died from esophageal cancer in Los Angeles in 1957.

3. F. Scott Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald in the June 1921 issue of ‘The World’s Work.’ Wikimedia Commons

Born in 1896, F. Scott Fitzgerald was an American writer most famous for the novel “The Great Gatsby.”

In 1917, Fitzgerald dropped out of Princeton to join the Army and was commissioned as a second lieutenant.

But Fitzgerald never saw combat, as the armistice was signed shortly before he was deployed.

Before the war ended, Fitzgerald was nervous that he would die in battle and often wrote in his spare time in the hopes of leaving a legacy. These writings were the groundwork for his later novel “This Side of Paradise.”

Fitzgerald was also friends with Hemingway, and the two writers spent much time as expatriates in Paris during the 1920s. The two friends were also part of what Gertrude Stein dubbed the “Lost Generation,” a term she coined to define the generation that came of age during the Great War.

Fitzgerald died of a heart attack in Hollwood in 1940.

4. Edwin Hubble

Hubble’s American Expeditionary Forces ID card. Wikimedia Commons

Born in 1889, Edwin Hubble was an American astronomer and cosmologist who observed in 1929 that the universe was expanding.

The famed Hubble Space Telescope, which was launched in 1990, is named after him.

After finishing his PhD in 1917, Hubble joined the US Army, but he never saw combat during World War I.

Hubble died in California in 1953.

5. Margaretha Zelle, a.k.a. Mata Hari

Mata Hari posing for the camera around 1905. Wikimedia Commons

Born in 1876, Margaretha Zelle, a.k.a Mata Hari, was a Dutch exotic dancer and spy.

In the early 1900s, after a troubled marriage, Zelle moved to Paris where she took on the stage name Mata Hari and became an exotic dancer and diplomat’s mistress.

Zelle’s “temple dance” performance and garb quickly gained her notoriety and she travelled Europe performing.

In 1916, Hari accepted a large sum of money from a German official to spy on France, but she never went through with it.

After falling in love with an injured Russian captain, Hari agreed to spy on Germany for France, but French officials later betrayed her, unjustly suspecting her of still working for Germany.

Hari was executed by firing squad in Paris in 1917.

6. Robert Graves

English poet, novellist and classical scholar Robert Graves, 73, arrives in Melbourne, Australia, October 1967. Public domain

Born in 1895, Robert Graves was an English poet and novelist who wrote more than 120 books, including the novel “I, Claudius.”

In March 1915, Graves joined the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Welch Fusiliers.

In 1916, Graves was badly wounded and initially thought to have died during the bloody Battle of Somme, which inspired him to write the poem “Two Fusiliers.”

He died in 1985.

7. Erwin Schrödinger

Erwin Schrödinger in the 1930s. Wikimedia Commons

Born in 1887, Erwin Schrödinger was an Austrian physicist who won a Nobel Prize for his wave equation, known as Schrödinger’s equation.

He’s also well known for his 1935 thought experiment known as Schrödinger’s cat.

In 1914, Schrödinger was drafted into the Austro-Hungarian military, and later served as an artillery officer in Italy.

When Schrödinger received the Nobel Prize in 1933, he said the award would have gone to Friedrich Hasenhörl, a physicist who had influenced Schrödinger, if he had not died during the war.

Schrödinger died in Vienna in 1961.

8. Dashiell Hammett

Born in 1894, Dashiell Hammett was an American novelist who wrote “The Maltese Falcon” and “The Thin Man.”

In 1915, Hammett began working as a detective for the Pinkerton Agency shortly before enlisting in the US Army.

During the war, Hammett served as a sergeant in the Motor Ambulance Corp, but contracted tuberculosis from which he would suffer the rest of his life.

Hammett died in New York City in 1961.

9. Thomas Hart Benton.

Born in 1889, Thomas Hart Benton was an American painter and muralist of the American Regionalism art movement in the 1930s and 1940s.

During World War I, Benton served in the Navy, where he was stationed at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia drawing illustrations for ship catalogues and other military equipment.

Benton later created several famous navy paintings, including “Cut the Line” and “She’s off.

Benton died in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1975.

10. Horace Pippin

Pippin’s self-portrait. Wikimedia Commons

Born in 1888, Horace Pippin was an American artist known for his self-portraits and paintings about the African American experience.

In 1917, Pippin enlisted in the Army and served in the 369th Infantry Regiment, or Harlem Hellfighters, a famed African American regiment in the New York National Guard.

During the war, Pippin drew several illustrations of soldiers while he was in the trenches.

He was later shot in the right arm, which caused him to later use his left hand to guide his right when painting.

He died in Pennsylvania in 1946.